Italy sets revenue record for online casinos

13 Feb 2018

The year 2018 started off with a bang for Italy’s regulated online gambling market, after recording double-digit sports betting profits, and in turn setting a new online casino record.

The statistics compiled by Italian gaming news agency Agimeg, reveals the total land-based and online sports betting revenue to be €150.5m in January, a 15.5% increase year-on-year. However, the online section of that total increased by 27.5% to €60.8m, dramatically overthrowing retail betting’s growth of 8.7%—especially with online outlets offering you everything you need to play.

The Italian site of UK operator Bet365, claimed top spot in the individual online sports betting operators, registering revenue of €10.1m, while Planetwin365, SKS365 Group’s brand followed closely behind with revenue of €8.5m. It was a closely fought battle between the rest of the top-five, with Snaitech earning €5.7m, Eurobet €5.1m, and Sisal €4.9m.

The online casino vertical set a new monthly revenue record with €59.7m, a huge 30.4% improvement over the same month last year. Local boys Lottomatica, however, claimed top individual honours, despite its 9.03% online casino market share being a mere whisker above The Stars Group’s PokerStars at 9.01%. Sisal had a 8.33% share while Eurobet had 7.23%, and GVC Holdings’ Bwin 5.91%, to round out the top-five.

Italy’s online poker market suffered another poor month, with tournament revenue declining by 1.1% to €8.7m, while cash games fell by 9.4% to €6.7m. PokerStars still maintained its dominance of both poker verticals, despite its tournament share declining by 10% year-on-year to 64.4%, while its cash games slice dropped seven points to 40.5%.

UK operator 888 Holdings, officially debuted its Italian-facing poker website, as Italy welcomed yet another new online poker entrant in January.  On the cash games chart, 888 ranked eighth with a 3.16% share, while its share of Italy’s tournament market also position at eighth with 1.26%.

During the time of 888’s Italian poker launch, Chief Operating Officer of 888, Itai Pazner, said his company was “following closely the developments” of Italy’s progress toward joining the poker liquidity deal which was agreed upon last summer by Italy, France, Portugal and Spain. 888 currently hold poker licenses in both Italy and Spain, and ranks second only to PokerStars in the Spanish market.

888poker IT joined 888’s successful casino and sports betting brands in Italy, which have already become increasingly popular.

"The Italian market fits with our strategy to expand 888’s presence in regulated markets and strengthens our position for the forthcoming pooling of players across selected European markets," Pazner explained.

"Following the success of our sports betting and casino products in the market, it was a natural step to offer our poker brand to our Italian customers so they can enjoy all three products, seamlessly and in one place."

In July 2017, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain penned down a cross-border agreement to permit licensed operators in their respective regulated online gambling markets to share poker liquidity. Last month, The Stars Group’s PokerStars brand’s French- and Spanish-licensed sites launched the first real actualization of this agreement.

However, comments made by  some Italian politicians and domestic gaming operators led to numerous speculations that Italy might be  having second thoughts about honouring its end of the liquidity commitments. Pier Paolo Baretta, Italy’s Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy and Finance with responsibility for gaming issues told Italian gaming news outlet GiocoNews that “the agreement will be respected.”

Baretta cited that “technical verification” of the liquidity sharing mechanism was still being carried out, but when the results of these verifications were presented to the government, “we will communicate them and then make a decision on it.”

While Italy’s timeline is still quite unclear, Italian politicians such as Barreta have come forward to give assurances of its actualization.